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Will Paranormal Activity's Success Bring A New Blair Witch Movie?

Baxter
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Posted November 2, 2009 - By Joseph Baxter

Will Paranormal Activity's Success Bring A New Blair Witch Movie?

These days, everyone's off about haunted bedrooms and alien abductions, but did we forget about a particular famous witch?

With a domestic total of nearly $85 million only a few weeks after its wide release, dominating the Saw franchise, and even just this week, coming in just under $5 million shy of spoiling the #1 spot debut of Michael Jackson's This Is It, the power of low budget buzz movie Paranormal Activity is undeniable. However, about this time 10 years ago, everyone was in awe of another low-budget project's rise to dominance, which would eventually set a place for itself in pop culture history. That film, of course, was The Blair Witch Project. Shot with a set of handcams with some unknowns on shoestring budget, the sleeper hit of all sleeper hits would eventually yield over $249 million (worldwide) at the box-office. With the recent success of Paranormal Activity, one may wonder if a fire may have been lit under the long-dormant Blair Witch franchise. It appears that it may have happened.

Co-Writer and Co-Director of the 1999 phenom (partnered with Daniel Myrick,) Eduardo Sanchez recently commented on the possibility of a new chapter in the Blair Witch franchise. The duo initially spent a number of years evading the possibility of returning to their franchise, even passing on involvement in the conventional, big-budget sequel, Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2. (Good call on that move, btw.) After spending the ensuing years sporadically on various low-key horror/sci-fi projects, it seems that Oren Peli's Paranormal Activity may have inspired the calling to resurrect this franchise. According to Sanchez:

"We're at the step where we're about to pitch to Lionsgate, which owns the movie rights now. It's pretty much up to them. They can completely squash it or greenlight it."

The film would prospectively be a sequel, which would not acknowledge the events of Blair Witch 2 (which were anticlimactic, to say the least.) Original cast members, Heather Donahue, Joshua Leonard and Michael C. Williams, would also be pursued for roles of some kind in Blair Witch 3. However, the film will attempt to avoid regurgitating what was done in the groundbreaking first film. While laughing at subsequent films which utilized Blair Witch's signature "shakycam" style like Cloverfield, Sanchez also acknowledges that audiences may be disappointed if it does not return. When gauging the crowd at a recent Screenwriter's Festival in LA, Sanchez comments:

"I asked the crowd, `Who would be turned off by that?' And nobody raised their hand. Then I said, `Who wants to see more shakycam?' And everybody raised their hands. We might have a problem here. We still haven't really decided yet, but instinct-wise it seems that doing the same thing would probably be a mistake."

Therefore, I wouldn't expect the Sanchez/Myrick duo to attempt reinventing the wheel all that much.

I suppose the real mystery lies in where they want to go with the story. If indeed the characters of the original cast (who we could have concluded were either missing or dead) do return, then in what capacity would it occur? Maybe the permise of the film could center on their mysterious resurfacing 16-17 years after the footage of their ordeal was found. (Seeing as the "ordeal" in the film took place in 1994.)

Either way, it sounds intriguing.

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